The Legacy We Leave

When you are driving down the street and see the “golden arches” or someone says they want a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder, most people know that you are talking about going to McDonalds. When someone mentions getting the new iPhone, iWatch, or iPad you know they are talking about an Apple device. If a professor tells you to start doing research on a specific person or topic, you want to find out when a movie or book was released, get directions to a specific location, or gather reviews, most people will Google to find the results. What McDonalds, Apple, and Google have in common is that they have mastered branding.

“Branding is what they say about you when you’re not in the room”- Jeff Bezos, former CEO of Amazon. Branding can make or break a person or organization depending on what foot you first put forward. Although in the past “branding” was limited to organizations but now it has become an essential part of one’s online reputation. For example, many employers have said that they do research on potential employees through online searches. They look at their social media feeds and posts. It gives them a general idea of the potential candidate’s personality and thought process. According for Forbes, freelance and contract workers make up 43% of the US workforce. For contract workers, their livelihood and future income depends heavily on how they brand themselves as well as customer reviews. It is essential for online companies, freelancers, or contract workers to be able to communicate their business or services to the public. It helps them to be able to reach their target or niche audience. In many cases it also allows for potential clients to find you.  By being able to reach your niche audience, it allows you to maximize sales and profits because you are not wasting time marketing to those who won’t buy into or benefit from your product or service.

When it comes to branding there are many things that organizations need to put and keep in perspective. Not only do organizations or individuals need to be able to communicate their message effectively, but the message also must be consistent. In making the decision to begin personal branding, the number one thing to be focused on the message that you are trying to convey. This makes it easier to create content for the brand. For example, many make-up gurus on YouTube, began as make-up artists at with department store brands such as MAC, Estee’ Lauder, or Lancôme. They began showing tutorials of how to get certain make up looks. That then transitioned into sponsorships, being placed on Public Relations lists for make-up brands, which resulted in free make-up, and then collaborations and partnerships with make-up brands.

Next, it’s important to always be true to who you are as a person. Many times, we hear about hear about our favorite entertainers not being nice or good people when we finally meet them in real life. People can pick up on cues when people aren’t being genuine. When this happens, it can do essential damage to the brand, many times before it can even take off well. Who doesn’t like a good story? Essentially when we are branding ourselves, we are telling a story, most importantly, we are telling our story. Recently, I just stated watching a girl on YouTube who is very quirky. Her delivery and outlook on life is very refreshing but most importantly when giving her stories and speaking of events that have happened to her, she is very transparent. In a society full of filters and paid endorsements, it is really something to see someone who doesn’t push a product every time they are on camera. Instead, she discusses what she does and does not do to be in her current position.

Consistency is key is a term that is shared often because it is very true. As a follower of brand ambassadors and with a goal of becoming one myself. It is very important to be consistent. As a person starting to brand themselves, you may be working a 9-5 but finding a schedule that allows you to be productive and productive towards your personal goal or dream is as important. As the saying goes, we all have the same 24 hours, and although some people’s 24 hours maybe less stressful than others due to money, nanny, personal training, or chef access, we must maximize our 24 hours to its fullest extent.

I used to live on the thoughts that failure is not an option and would become depressed and sad for days and weeks even when things didn’t work out for me. As I have gotten older, I have realized that failure is an essential part of life. Don’t get me wrong, it still doesn’t feel well but I have learned how to handle it in healthier way, and I don’t let it consume me and eat away at my time, the way I did in the past. When branding, especially starting out understanding that you may fail, does not make you a failure. For personal branding, it is important to make a positive impact and live your brand when developing your brand as you do not want to burn bridges. Having close contacts within your industry or genre are important to the growth of your brand. Being a good person always pays off. As they say, I might not be able to get you in, but I can sure keep you out.

Within all industries, finding a mentor is highly important. Meeting people that will take you under their arm and show you the ropes is important for so many reasons. They help you navigate the industry, introduce you to those that can help you elevate your branding status, and prevent you from making the same mistakes they made. As your brand continues to grow it is important to allow others to share their stories and truth. The goal here is as your grow to help others grow as well. This allows you to continue to leave a positive impact in the life of others and in return, they will make an impact in yours. Lastly, you want to leave a legacy. One that will outlive us and future generations.

Sources:

Chan, G. (2018). 10 Golden Rules of Personal Branding. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/goldiechan/2018/11/08/10-golden-rules-personal-branding/?sh=660b946958a7

Castrillon, C. (2019) Why Personal Branding is More Important Than Ever. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2019/02/12/why-personal-branding-is-more-important-than-ever/?sh=284b44ae2408

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